Poverty Policy in Rural China

Published on Author mackayj17

As China’s standard of living and income levels continue to rise, the nation must pause and determine how it is going to handle regions and towns that have not enjoyed the same success and prosperity as others.

The official poverty level in China is around $370 per year, and many individuals who qualify for assistance live in rural agricultural areas. It is from these areas where people have migrated from in search of a higher income in the cities, leaving people behind to try and eek out a living on small family farms.

More complicated than the official poverty measure, however, is how the state determines if county’s or villages are considered impoverished. The criterion are often odd, and often deny villages that would regularly be classified as impoverished due to various factors, such as owning a community run company or large deviations in income between residents.

Possible reasoning for the difficulty in attaining an impoverished designation for a region is the extent of improper use of government funds when they are awarded to a region. Governments use the money awarded to them to develop expensive government buildings, or put into credit unions which are hard to access by normal civilians. This lack of utility from funds may be off-putting to higher government officials. Delaying further investment.

Some citizens who receive benefits do not necessarily see dramatic changes in their lives. Many people are used to their lives with low levels of income, and are often fine surviving as they are. A large amount of investment would be needed to dramatically change these peoples lives in a dramatic way.

Source: http://www.economist.com/news/china/21647654-how-much-has-flagship-official-scheme-played-chinas-impressive-record-reducing



2 Responses to Poverty Policy in Rural China

  1. You mentioned that the criteria is odd for how a region is characterized as impoverished. This is probably caused by corruption. Funding is most likely decided not on a strict criteria of average income levels, but rather which region is most likely to return the favor to the party officials. This seems counter intuitive since the wealthier regions are more able to bribe party officials.

  2. See an earlier (?) post on this same topic, where in my comments I tried to think up ways to distinguish whether this policy was pure politics/pork. (I don’t know the answer.)